Exeter Chiefs told to change 'offensive' name

Exeter Chiefs told to change ‘offensive’ name by Native American expert

  • Exeter Chiefs have been urged to drop the club’s theme because it is insulting to Native Americans
  • Professor Rachel Herrmann has attacked their fans for dressing up in headdresses
  • She said: “The Chiefs rewrote their own history in 1999. Perhaps another rebranding is in order.”
Exeter Chiefs rugby club has been urged to change its name and stop “playing Indian” by an expert in Native American history.

Dr Rachel Herrmann from the University of Southampton has criticized the team, which rebranded as Chiefs in 1999, for its use of Native American imagery.

She said it evoked “Britain’s forgotten imperial American past”.

A spokesman for the club said they had no comment to make on the claims, nor the call to change its name


Dr Herrmann said: “I think changing [Exeter’s] name would be the ultimate step but I don’t know whether that is likely to happen.

“I would at least like to see an engaged discussion between the team and Native American groups that could better explain why the name might be offensive.”

Dr Hermann criticised rugby fans who waved tomahawks, wore Native American headdress and war paint, and said it evoked a history of settler colonialism.

The expert said it also ignores modern Native Americans who no longer dress in that way and the protests of those who have spoken out “against such cultural appropriation”.


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